Malnutrition, including both under- and over-nutrition, and disease prevention are universal concepts that the international nutrition community must address. To do this, we must work together through collaborations and networking to build capacity for nutrition professionals; develop new and advanced skills for assessment, diagnosis and intervention; and conduct nutrition and dietetic specific research. Through these avenues, the global nutrition resource needs can be identified, strategized for and intervened on.
To contribute to the international nutrition community in a meaningful way, a new goal with corresponding strategies was added to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Strategic Plan: “Members collaborate across disciplines with international food and nutrition communities.”
This goal recognizes the need for working within existing structures in individual countries and for collaboration between organizations to ensure nutrition needs are met worldwide.
The Academy has made tremendous strides in working with the international community to understand different nutrition needs, understand different health care infrastructures and workforce capacities and develop relevant resources that may contribute meaningfully to the science and knowledge base of nutrition.
To increase understanding of nutrition needs around the world, the Academy has developed a relationship with nutrition professionals from the National Institutes of Health and the United States Agency for International Development. Through this collaboration, projects in Africa on HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and micronutrients have been initiated. Work in Africa to understand health care infrastructure and resource needs as they relate to nutrition and dietetics began in August of 2013. These efforts will continue as the international strategies are fine-tuned and further focused.
Groundbreaking Academy initiatives such as the Evidence Analysis Library (EAL) and the development and introduction of the Nutrition Care Process (NCP) and Terminology (NCPT) are examples of Academy resources that have impacted the international nutrition community. These efforts provide a natural pathway to building our international vision while maintaining our national agenda.
The EAL (http://andevidencelibrary.com/default.cfm
) is a collection of nutrition and dietetics-specific questions that have been answered through systematic review and, when appropriate, subsequently developed into evidence-based nutrition practice based guidelines. This database of graded, peer-reviewed research is organized by topics relevant to the nutrition practitioner. From September 2004 through April 15, 2014, there have been 19,370,196 total EAL page views from 219 different countries.
Similarly, the Nutrition Care Process Terminology Committee has had great impact on the international nutrition community. More than 20 countries are using the NCP and nine have translated the NCPT into their own language (e.g. Taiwan, Japan, Sweden, Italy). To ensure the NCPT is an international language, the Academy committee which guides NCP development and validation has two voting members knowledgeable in the process but are from countries other than the United States. Additionally, an international sub-committee was formed where the membership is comprised of individuals from countries around the world who are interested in or are currently using the NCPT.
Future work will build on better understanding of the international nutrition community’s needs, building collaborations and networks to foster resource dissemination and research, and the development of resources that will improve people’s nutrition status around the world.
Sylvia Escott-Stump, MA, RD, LDN
US Representative for ICDA
Dietetic Internship Director
East Carolina University